Or more realistically, “Until you do something I don’t like.”
A few years ago, I attended the beautiful wedding of a young couple in their twenties—all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed—stars in their eyes, and love in their hearts.
As I sat there taking in the elegantly decorated garden, I paid close attention to the vows. Standard in most ceremonies are the famous words, “For Better or For Worse…” Hearing that phrase gave me pause. I wonder if those words mean anything anymore. Time and time again, I hear couples talk about how if they don’t get what they need from their marriage; they’re out of there. But wait, didn’t they promise they would stay? Imagine Sally & John, married 15 years. John says, “I’m being relocated. We need to move to Monrovia so I can keep my job.” Sally looks at him and says, “Well, I don’t like Monrovia; so if you move there, I’m leaving you!” What happened to that happy couple that promised to love each other no matter what? Are the wedding vows just a bunch of hogwash? Are they just pretty words? Or do they have some significance?
It seems like couples, married or otherwise, come with a multiple set of conditions. They’ll stay all right, but only if their partner is meeting all their expectations; only if their partner does exactly what they want, when they want it; only if their partner doesn't disappoint them. They might as well be married to a robot. If you’re in a relationship, you will be disappointed. That’s just the way it is. People are people.
So what’s the purpose of the vows? I’d like to believe that the words recited on the day of the union are true; that couples are going to fight tooth and nail to keep their marriage alive, not just give up, and destroy a family, just because the marriage is going to require some work, or sacrifice. All great things do.
Relationships require love, respect, and compromise. Loving someone and having them love you back is not a given. Being in a healthy relationship requires a great deal of effort. It is time you understand what you’re saying when you recite your vows. It is up to you to make them real, to back up what you say. How much are you really willing to fight for your relationship?
NOTE: I’d like to make it clear that staying with a person who’s violent, psychotic, or turns out to be on the 10 Most Wanted List is not what I’m referring to. There are exceptions.
What I am suggesting is that you show love to your partner; that you let them know you really meant what you said on that special day when you looked adoringly into each other’s eyes; that you will weather whatever comes your way, together. Because that’s what you promised to do.